Tech Talk: Apple 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display

Posted on December 28, 2012
The new Apple 13" MacBook Pro with Retina display

Photo – Apple: The new Apple 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display

When I first received my review version of the new 13” MacBook Pro with Retina display, I was worried that reviewing it so soon after I checked out the 15” version would be, as Yogi Berra said so eloquently “Déjà vu all over again”.

It’s not.

The 13” MacBook Pro with Retina display is not simply a smaller version of the 15” model. It is a different version, with technical specs that are a bit scaled down than those of the 15” MacBook Pro with Retina display. This doesn’t mean it’s any less of a great computer than the larger 15″ version – it’s smaller, lighter, almost as good – and considerably cheaper.

The basic model comes with a 2.5GHz dual core Intel i5 processor with a turbo boost to up to 3.1GHz. It comes with 8GB of RAM and an Intel Graphics 4000 card and a 125GB of flash storage. It’s priced at $1699.00 CAD. The second variant of the 13” MacBook Pro with Retina display comes with the same processor and basic RAM configuration, along with the same graphics card. The difference is the 256GB flash memory, and it costs $1999.00 CAD. Both are configurable to a 2.9GHz dual core Intel i7 processor with turbo boost to 3.6GHz for an additional cost. Buyers can also configure the computer with additional flash storage of either 512GB or 768GB – also for an additional cost.

The 13” MacBook Pro with Retina display is only 1.9cm H x 31.4cm W x 21.9cm D and weighs a scant 1.62kg. That’s .1cm thicker than the 15” MacBook Pro with Retina display, and the same thickness as the thick end of a MacBook Air.

The ports on the 13" MacBook Pro with Retina display

Photo – Apple: The ports on the 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display

It comes with a MagSafe 2 power port, two Thunderbolt ports, 2 USB 3 ports, an HDMI port, headphone port, and a SDXC card slot – but no Superdrive. It’s got a full-sized QWERTY backlit keyboard and a Multi-touch trackpad that supports gestures. The Wi-Fi onboard is 802.11n, with dual band, that’s also 802.11 a/b/g compatible.

Battery life in the MacBook Pro with Retina display offers up to 7 hours of wireless web surfing and up to 30 days of standby.

The resolution of the Retina display is 2560 x 1600 at 227 pixels per inch and has support for millions of colours.

The flash storage means the computer starts up very quickly and saving large files is much faster than on a traditional hard drive.

It’s a gorgeous computer.

The 13” MacBook Pro has long been the favourite among Apple notebook users with its combination of size, power and features making it unbeatable. It’s got more than enough power to run just about any application a user can have, plus the beautiful Retina display makes offers breathtaking clarity for working with photos or movies.

Not having a Superdrive might be a bit of a concern for some, but I can tell you that I’ve used a MacBook Air for years and have only rarely wished I had an onboard Superdrive. You can purchase an external drive if you really need it. The lack of an Ethernet port is a little vexing for me, because I connect my notebook to my home network, but the Wi-Fi makes that issue a bit less of one, and for under $30 I can buy a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter to solve any problems.

I really like the 13” version of the MacBook Pro with Retina display – smaller, lighter, just about as fast as its older brother, this notebook is bound to become hugely popular with consumers. Fit and finish is first class, and the solid unibody aluminum design makes for a notebook that feels and screams high quality.

PROS: Small size; lightweight, fantastic Retina display; flash storage is very fast; great value for what you get.

CONS: Flash storage, although faster than a traditional hard drive, is still expensive; no Superdrive; no Ethernet; no FireWire either.

TO SUM IT UP: The 13” MacBook Pro is the most popular computer Apple makes for a reason – it’s small, powerful, easily fits into a home network and is a piece of cake to put into a travel bag for road warriors. The MacBook Pro with Retina display take sit to a new level with a smaller, more lightweight chassis, the amazing Retina display and flash storage. The lack of a Superdrive may be a problem for some, but it’s technology that’s slowly dying out, so omitting it is a logical progression. If you’re looking for a new notebook with all the bells and whistles and Apple’s proven quality, then you owe it to yourself to check the 13” MacBook Pro with Retina display out.

Murray Hill is lead tech writer at You can reach Murray by email at or on Twitter at @MurrayDHill


About Murray Hill

Murray Hill has been a freelance columnist appearing regularly in some of the most prominent Canadian newspapers since 1974. He began writing about technology over twenty-four years ago and he still maintains the belief that there's a gadget or gizmo for every situation and application. His fascination with technology and gadgets has endured for over fifty years, and has led to many familial discussions about the the difference between the words "need" and "want" when referring to tech. Based in Saskatoon, connect with Murray at: Author's Note: I write a column on a single product, rather than comparing products. I do this because what I write is my personal opinion on a particular product. Sometimes I get something sent to me automatically, but mostly I ask manufacturers for a particular product to review. I usually have these products for a period of a few weeks to a few months, then they are returned. I get to keep some products - usually the ones that would cost more to ship back than they are worth - and most of those items get given away. I do get an honorarium from Communicatto for writing, but get no compensation from manufacturers or the firms representing them - so nobody buys my opinion! I also try to use photos and graphics provided, mostly because I'm a terrible photographer!

Tags: , , , , ,

Join Communicatto in conversation!

Blog Sections


Communicatto on Facebook

Hit the Like button and get social media tips, tricks, news and techniques on Facebook.


Communicatto on Twitter

Social Media Speaker

Posts by Date

December 2012
« Nov   Jan »